Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: Youth Entrepreneurship in York

Extension Update from Megan Burda: Youth Entrepreneurship in York


Youth Entrepreneurship in York

One of my favorite youth programs is happening in York this week: ESI Camp! I have witnessed, firsthand, the value of these camps as a teacher and mentor for a few years in other communities. Through these camps, youth have the opportunity to identify their strengths and develop a business based on their interests. These camps utilize a 4-H curriculum called EntrepreneurShip Investigation. ESI is an exciting, interactive, and comprehensive curriculum project designed for youth, ages 10-19. ESI uses a variety of tools to help participants develop their entrepreneurial skills and find their business niche. Through exciting activities, case studies and current technology, participants are transformed into budding entrepreneurs!

After completing all levels of the curriculum, youth will have the skills and tools to start their own business, as well as have a completed business and marketing plan – the “road map” to the entrepreneur’s success. 

Finally, participants will learn that they can do all of these things without moving to a large city.  The ESI curriculum provides an opportunity to reach young people; enabling them to explore opportunities they can create for themselves with the support of their community.

ESI is truly a pioneer in the field of youth entrepreneurship education for several reasons:

  • Developed with four audiences in mind:
    • 4-H Clubs
    • Middle and high schools
    • Youth organizations
    • Community organizations
  • Written in partnership with organizations representative of each of the target audiences
  • Research-based
  • Uses current technology through web-based activities
  • Is accessible and affordable to anyone
  • Provides instructions and direction for leaders and teachers through the leader’s guide
  • Aligned to school standards for easy classroom use

The ESI curriculum can be taught in classrooms or as an out-of-school or summer camp program. Since its inception in 2008, it has been taught in 48 states and at least eight countries. It has been used by 4-H clubs and youth and community organizations, and in state fair competitions. It also has been integrated into middle and high schools as a formal classroom curriculum (University of Nebraska–Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, n.d.). In 2015, 1,229 students received over 20,500 hr of ESI instruction. All units of the curriculum, including an educator’s guide, are available for purchase online.

The York ESI Camp is a collaboration with various community partners. The students are engaged in lessons throughout the week that will culminate in a business marketplace on Saturday. I encourage you to support these young entrepreneurs at the Sidewalk Sales downtown. On Saturday, July 15, students will set up their “stores” in downtown York and be ready to sell their goods from 8–11 AM.  Check out their creative ventures and support the next generation of York business owners!



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